Yeager: Well, I came back home, made basic instructor in the summer of ’45. The war ended in Europe, all of the POWs were released and all of the airmen, pilots, navigators, bombardiers and gunners who had been shot down and either evaded or were prisoners of war could select any air base in the United States and the Air Force would assign you there. That was a gift. And I said, man, that includes me, ’cause I was an evadee, and I was an instructor in T-6s at Perrin Field, Texas. The closest air base to my home was Wright Field, and I asked for it. They assigned me there. When I reported in, the personnel guys looked at my records. I was a 22-year-old fighter pilot, I had about 1,200 hours in P-39s and P-51s, but the thing that caught their eye was that I was a maintenance officer—had a maintenance Air Force specialty code. There was an opening in the fighter test section for a maintenance officer, and that’s where they assigned me. It was just pure luck. I got there and started flying functional test flights on all the airplanes they made. You know, when the crew chief worked on them, you’d fly them, just to check the systems out, and then you’d turn the mover to the test pilots. Like I said, the Old Man liked the way I flew, and I put on air shows, and he selected me for test pilot school. Then Bell got in a big flap with the NACA [National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics, NASA’s predecessor]. You see, the military had never been allowed to do research flying. Never. But the Air Force had conceived and paid for the X-1, which Bell then was managing. The NACA used civilian pilots, and there was bonus money involved. Well, old Colonel Boyd, chief of the flight test division, told the Air Force, since we were footing the bill, “Hey, goddamn, if you take that airplane over, we’ve got pilots that are a hell of a lot better than NACA has.” And by God, he was successful in getting it.